June 6th - High Wind Warning Issued...
The National Weather Service in
Denver has issued a High Wind Warning for the
mountains and foothills east of the Continental
Divide, including the Drake, Glen Haven and Storm
Mountain areas, in effect from midnight tonight
through noon on Thursday.
WEST WINDS OF 30 TO 50 MPH WILL
DEVELOP IN THE FOOTHILLS AND OVER THE HIGHER
TERRAIN EAST OF THE DIVIDE BY TONIGHT WITH GUSTS
UP TO 90 MPH DEVELOPING AFTER MIDNIGHT WHICH WILL
CONTINUE THROUGH THE MORNING HOURS ON THURSDAY. A
FEW GUSTS COULD REACH 100 MPH OR MORE IN A FEW
REMEMBER, A HIGH WIND WARNING
MEANS THAT STRONG AND POTENTIALLY DAMAGING WINDS
ARE EITHER OCCURRING OR HIGHLY LIKELY. MOTORISTS
WILL NEED TO BE ALERT FOR SUDDEN CROSS WINDS. TREE
DAMAGE AND POWER OUTAGES CAN BE EXPECTED.
Area residents are advised to
secure loose items such as grills, lawn furniture
and trash cans in advance of these winds. The
complete text of this official warning can be
found via the text link provided below.
June 3rd - Photo Of The Week...
Taken from the SMN office late on Saturday afternoon, this week's photo features a beautiful rainbow over Palisade Mountain near Drake, Colorado.
Rainbows are somewhat common in our area at this time of the year with afternoon mountain showers occurring on a regular basis. As these storms pass to the east. the sun is revealed to the west supplying the light for these beautiful sights.
Rainbows are optical and meteorological phenomena that cause a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere. They take the form of a
multicolored arc, with red on the outer part of the arch and violet on the inner section of the arch. More rarely, a double rainbow is seen, which includes a second, fainter arc with
colors in the opposite order, that is, with violet on the outside and red on the inside.
Even though a rainbow spans a continuous spectrum of
colors, traditionally the full sequence of colors is most commonly cited and remembered as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
Though rainbows are bow-shaped in most cases, there are also phenomena of
rainbow-colored strips in the sky: in the shape of stripes, circles, or even flames.
Rainbows can be observed whenever there are water drops in the air and sunlight shining from behind the observer at a low altitude or angle. The most spectacular rainbow displays when half of the sky is still dark with draining clouds and the observer is at a spot with clear sky overhead. The rainbow effect is also commonly seen near waterfalls or fountains. Rainbow fringes can sometimes be seen at the edges of backlit clouds and as vertical bands in distant rain or virga. The effect can also be artificially created by dispersing water droplets into the air during a sunny day.
June 1st - Summer Ozone Season Begins...
On June 1st, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will
begin issuing seasonal ozone action alerts through which Front Range residents will be advised when local ozone levels are expected to be elevated. Alerts will be issued through the peak summer ozone season, from June 1 through August 31. The cities of Loveland, Fort Collins, and Greeley are included in the alert area.
Ozone action alerts are issued when ozone levels are predicted to be elevated at ground-level, where people live and breathe.
Ozone is a form of air pollution that impacts Front Range communities during the warmest part of the year. Elevated levels can cause symptoms including stinging eyes and throat, chest pains, coughing and respiratory distress.
Those most at risk from exposure to elevated ozone levels include elderly, young active children and anyone with a pre-existing respiratory condition such as emphysema or asthma. Even healthy adults who spend a lot of time working or exercising outdoors may be affected by elevated ozone levels. During ozone alert days, people can lower their risk of developing symptoms by limiting prolonged outdoor exercise. Particularly sensitive individuals may even be advised to stay indoors.
Ozone alerts are issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment where meteorologists analyze daily weather forecasts and ozone monitoring data to predict expected ozone levels. Weather that is hot, sunny and calm increases the likelihood of high ozone concentrations, while clouds, thunderstorms, wind and cooler temperatures can help reduce ozone formation.
Ozone is a gas that forms in the lower atmosphere when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) combine with nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the presence of sunlight. The volatile organic compounds that contribute to ozone formation are emitted from cars and trucks, industrial sources, oil and gas wells, and residential activities such as lawn mowing or the use of paints and stains.
Alerts are not only an important means of informing people who may be affected by elevated levels of ozone, but also as a means to inform the public about what each person can do to help reduce ozone during those times,” said Doug Ryan, environmental specialist at the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. Ryan explains that because VOCs that are emitted on hot summer days lead to ozone formation, citizens can help by taking voluntary steps to reduce these pollutants. Steps
- Reduce driving whenever possible
- Maintain your vehicle to help it run cleaner
- Walk to lunch and run errands in the evening
- Stop at the click when refueling your car or truck to limit vapors at the gas
- Refuel after dusk in the summer to avoid the period of intense sunlight
- Combine trips, take the bus, or postpone a trip during an alert if possible
- Avoid using gas-powered yard equipment on high ozone days
- Avoid painting and staining projects in the heat of the day
- Use water-based paints and stains
State and Federal air quality standards have been set for ozone and other air pollutants in order to protect people’s health. The current ozone standard is based on the average ozone level measured over 8 hours. Determining compliance with the standard involves averaging ozone monitoring results over a three year period. The Front Range region violated for 8-hour ozone standard in 2003 based on the 2001 through 2003 averaging period. Since that time, new standards to reduce the emission of volatile organic compounds have been set to limit ozone formation and help bring the region into compliance. The new regulatory standards include stricter emission controls on the oil and gas industry, and reformulation on summertime gasoline to make it less prone to evaporation. This summer will mark the end of the 2005 through 2007 three year averaging period, and is considered crucial for demonstrating compliance under a State agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Ozone also occurs in the upper atmosphere at an altitude of 10 to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface. This upper-level ozone is not a form of air pollution, and in fact blocks ultraviolet rays thereby protecting us from skin cancer, cataracts, and possibly immune system damage.
Individuals can obtain a daily air quality advisory on-line at
. The State also operates a toll-free telephone hotline to help keep Colorado residents informed about current and predicted air quality conditions. The number is 1-888-484-3247 (1-888-4-THE AIR). In Larimer County, alerts will also be published in the Coloradoan and the Reporter-Herald on their Weather pages, on Fort Collins Cable Channel 14, and on most metro-area news channels.
SMN has also added a link to the daily ozone
alerts to our right menu bar, just
below the local forecast link.
May 31st - Blue Moon Tonight...
At 9:04 pm Eastern Daylight Time
on May 31st, the full moon over North America will
turn blue. Not really. But it will be the second
full moon of May and, according to folklore, that
makes it a Blue Moon.
If you told a person in
Shakespeare's day that something happens
"once in a Blue Moon" they would attach
no astronomical meaning to the statement. Blue
moon simply meant rare or absurd, like making a
date for "the Twelfth of Never."
But "meaning is a slippery
substance," writes Philip Hiscock of the
Dept. of Folklore, Memorial University of
Newfoundland. "The phrase 'Blue Moon' has
been around a long time, well over 400 years, and
during that time its meaning has shifted."
The modern definition sprang up
in the 1940s. In those days the Maine Farmer's
Almanac offered a definition of Blue Moon so
convoluted even professional astronomers struggled
to understand it. It involved factors such as
ecclesiastical dates of Easter and Lent, tropical
years, and the timing of seasons according to the
dynamical mean sun. Aiming to explain blue moons
to the layman, Sky & Telescope published an
article in 1946 entitled "Once in a Blue
Moon." The author James Hugh Pruett
(1886-1955) cited the 1937 Maine almanac and
opined that the "second [full moon] in a
month, so I interpret it, is called Blue
Full SCIENCE@NASA Article...